The word was spread in whispers
the way flakes of snow fall
into silence. Some had already
read the exit signs
making their way to the pines.
I only saw a forest, swaying, waving
a dark green tunnel
leading from our door.
So many of us had gone already
our dear departed ones
massed in graves, in ghetto gatherings.
My fate was theirs, waiting on the threshold
waiting for collection.
My son took me. Hand in hand
by night we left, vanished into timberland.
Such a mismatched pair of fugitives.
He hurrying on as though summoned
by G-d and though the hounds of hell
might snap my heels, the need to rest
was strong. And there I forced our parting
cutting again the umbilical chord.
He drifted away like a balloon.
All the trees were witnessing.
They moved in closer still. Mists snagged
in swags on outstretched limbs, framing sanctuary.
Hunger that had gnawed like ravaged rats
guts that churned concerns
even the shivering bones
Snow soft hair in a frosted bed. Falling fast
the flurries dripped from face and hands
all the age-etched years erased.
I heard seabirds flying here from Riga
where the Great Choral synagogue
sang at the mouth of the river.
Notes: Solidarity in the Forest - The Bielski Partisans The Great Choral Synagogue memorial
A picture prompt that invoked a true but not isolated story of an aged mother who urged her son to leave her in a Belarusian forest as he went on to join the Jewish partisans there: The Sunday Muse #138
16 thoughts on “A different Ending”
I love the way you have pulled in all the images in the picture into your poem. Such lovely lines and what a magnificent ending indeed! So glad you joined us at the Muse Laura!
was a rather magical picture but this narrative arose quite spontaneously from those very images – hard to write about and harder still to make into poetry so many thanks
I am quite certain when reading a poem that produces chills, a physical reaction ~~ it is amazing.
reassuring in a way as to convey is half the battle- thank you
That last stanza is beyond beautiful!
thanks Bev and bitter sweet given what happened at Riga
What a beautiful piece of poetry. I am chuffed and humbled that you chose to link to my Great Choral Synagogue memorial post by way of illustration. Thank you.
your post tells the horror so completely – thank you for the information and illustration
Agree with Helen — this gave me chills. And mountain is perfect metaphor for her strength.
yes we do not know what human strengths are summoned in such circumstances – but this is a true story and not an isolated one
“I heard seabirds flying here from Riga” was a showstopper. That just burst through. Then you take the whole poem home with: “where the Great Choral synagogue / sang at the mouth of the river.” So, so good.
I am delighted by your praise though it is tempered by the stories behind it all
I too love how you looked at the image and heard its poetry. Beautiful
Surprised myself as to what the image evoked/provoked
I love that last stanza, how it pulled everything together.
Thank you – it was at least a different ending than this Jewish mother might have had
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